3. Jerome Harrison
Before getting into Jerome Harrison‘s stint with the Browns, it’s important to lead off with what happened to the the running back after his days in Cleveland. Sports are just a small piece of life in the grand scheme of things. The games we love to watch and debate are usually a fun distraction that provides many a break from real life.
In 2011, a physical revealed Harrison had a benign brain tumor. The surgery to remove it , in addition to a stroke, nearly killed Harrison. His family thought he’d be paralyzed, however No. 35 persevered, and can walk and use his arms.
In-between the lines, Browns fans had endured so many tough seasons by 2009 that all years were starting to blur together. That 2009 campaign sticks out as a particularly bad one, so thank goodness Harrison was a bright spot.
That season saw The Man-genius, Eric Mangini, in his first season as coach. Naturally, he gutted the roster, bringing in players he was familiar with from his day with the Jets.
It didn’t matter much, as the Browns had no quarterback. Derek Anderson was not the next Bernie Kosar and Brady Quinn’s career was trending toward bust.
The Browns were so offensively inept by the end of that season, they had no choice but to run the ball…a lot.
The results put Jerome Harrison in the same class as Jim Brown. On Dec. 20 on a cold dreary day in Kansas City, Harrison rushed for 286 yards and three touchdowns. The effort broke the team record held by Jim Brown, who rushed for 237 yards in 1957 and 1961.
Harrison would finish the season with two more 100-yard performances.
The Browns ended that season with four straight victories, and newly hired president Mike Holmgren kept Mangini, with the perception that the Browns were finally on the right tack.